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Here's the Deal: Brass Kettle co-owner Brandon Johnson shares the details on how to keep your social media game strong. But first...
BEAR(D) IN MIND
FINDING SUCCESS IN THE
BUSINESS OF BEARDS
STORY AND PHOTOS BY BECCA SIMON
Men brave enough to enter the world of the bearded have their work cut out for them, as all beards are not created equal.

Enter Miciah Mueller, a Minnesota native who moved to Aberdeen just over two years ago. 

It just so happens that Miciah is the perfect poster man for his new business venture, Dakota Beard Company . Miciah sports a luscious, firey beard that commands your attention when you speak to him. It's long, but not unruly — and he wears it with pride.
He was a mere four months into the realm of the bearded when his brother suggested he try making some beard oil for Dakota Territory Brewing.

Knowing he could do so on a large scale, Miciah acted immediately. He crunched the numbers, found some contacts that could help him with his idea, and went for it.

“I decided to just roll the dice and let it go,” he said.

Thus, Dakota Beard Company was born. 

But why beard oil?

“Once you start using beard oil, you understand why you’re doing it,” Miciah said.
Anyone who has experience growing a beard knows it’s not exactly easy. It gets itchy, and unless you’re blessed, you probably have to deal with some patchiness that can make it more challenging.

Beard oil can help with that. Miciah’s blend is made up of a mixture jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil and vitamin E.

“When your facial hair is growing, it takes the oils off your face and adds it onto your hair,” Miciah explained. “But eventually, your face has no more oils left to give, so the oil moisturizes and helps add shine. It makes a big difference on your scratchiness level.”
It can also turn a bristly, sandpaper-y beard into a soft, fluffy cloud. 

And of course — as an extra perk — it smells good, too. Miciah crafted each bottle to smell “manly” but not too intense like the “woodsy” scent many beard oils go after.

Fans of clean, more subtle aromas may find a favorite in the Revive oil — a special scent crafted just for Revive Day Spa as thanks for the business's help testing original scents. 

Each scent is sold in a compact amber glass bottle that takes on a personality of its own thanks to the bearded jackrabbit that adorns each one. 

"I wanted it to be a dapper looking
jackalope," Miciah said. "Because it's
South Dakota. It's a fun critter." 
Starting the business was all a lot easier than one might expect, Miciah said.
One of his first steps was networking to other small business owners. In fact, Miciah believes he wouldn’t have been successful if he hadn’t talked to so many.

“I got overwhelming support from just about everyone,” he said.

Not wanting to overextend himself, Miciah allotted a set amount of money for his business to pull from. He bought just enough to get his idea off the ground, and made sure he knew exactly how much things were going to cost right off the bat while making sure prices would be feasible for customers.
“You can always talk yourself out of
something,” he said. “But most of the time,
you’re going to overthink it.”
Now Miciah’s beard oil is sold in several locations in Aberdeen: Karisma Boutique, Revive Day Spa, Shoe Science, and Natural Abundance. He also sells them through his Facebook page.

“You don’t need to try and take over the
world right away," he said. "But take steps
in the right direction.”
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MAKING SOCIAL MEDIA YOUR FRIEND
Social media as a business tool isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And whether you’re a social media mogul or you haven’t remembered your Facebook password in years, knowing how to engage your audience on these platforms can infinitely boost your success.

The Brass Kettle was one of the first notable businesses in Aberdeen to maintain an active social media presence, using their Facebook page to advertise menu specials and engage customers. Co-owner Brandon Johnson shares some tips about how you can win at the social media game.
Build your brand
Before you get in over your head delving into social media, Brandon strongly advises developing your brand first. That means everything from your logo to the voice you use. Consistency is key when you want someone to remember you, after all.

“Think about what keywords you want to use, what colors you want to use, and design it all the way down," he said. "It’s important to get a feel for your business.” 
Understand your platform
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — the list goes on. To some, the wide range of social media platforms can be overwhelming. But as a business, it’s important to understand each one and what types of post can succeed on them .
 
Brandon recommends looking at how other businesses handle their posts to get a better feel for it. (Yes, we promise, this is not cheating.)

“When dealing with social media, we have to understand that they’re all different,” Brandon said. “Maybe one thing isn’t the best for one outlet.” 
Tell a good story
What’s more likely to catch your attention — a paid for, manufactured ad, or a story about a local who had a personal experience with a particular business?

Your customers want more than just facts and details. They want to know you and what stories you have to tell.

“Putting out a good story is so important,” Brandon said. “It can be easy to buy your likes, but then your customers aren’t there for the right reasons. We try to create authenticity. Anytime we show that, we get a great response.” 
Next week: Two NSU professors turn their passions into publications.

Lysbeth Benkert and Greg Blair both released books last year. But how did they do it? And what was their path to being published?
That's next week in The Square Deal!
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NO. 6 ◼️ VOL. 1 ◼️ FEB. 27, 2019